CONSTRUCTION of the first commercial electron beam (E-Beam) irradiation facility in the Philippines serving the medical and food industries is expected to be completed by late 2023, A Brown Co., Inc. (ABCI) said.
Paul Francis B. Juat, A Brown vice-president, told BusinessWorld that the facility, run by fully-owned subsidiary Irradiation Solutions, Inc., has entered the engineering works stage. It will rise on a 1.2-hectare site in Tanay, Rizal.
Mr. Juat said the facility, to be built for around P600 million, will offer a cost-effective means of sterilizing medical devices and agricultural products.
“It is one of the cheapest sterilization methods compared to other alternatives and the company feels that this will be a big help to industries in the Philippines,” Mr. Juat said.
According to Mr. Juat, the facility will be able to accommodate volume of 20,000 tons each year, and has received letters of interest from 10 agricultural and medical companies.
“We have received interest from… food additive companies, food processors, and medical devices firms,” Mr. Juat said.
He also estimated the cost for users at between P15 and P50 per kilogram, depending on the type of product that will undergo the process.
Luvimina G. Lanuza, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) Irradiation Services Section former head, said ABCI’s planned facility helps address the need for more local commercial irradiation facilities.
Ms. Lanuza said the demand is expected to come from the herbal and spice industries, adding that the facility can also be used to eliminate pests on fruits and vegetables.
She also confirmed that the facility can be used on frozen fish and other seafood, cosmetic raw materials, packaging materials, animal feeds, and crops such as onions and potatoes.
Ms. Lanuza added that the facility can service medical products such as syringes, personal protective equipment, surgical masks, surgical gloves, gauze, and cotton dressings, among others.
“The facility exposes the products to a beam of electrons just like how cargoes undergo x-ray scanners in airports. It sterilizes the product, reduces the microbial load, eliminates pathogens, extends shelf life, and reduces postharvest losses,” Ms. Lanuza said.
A Brown’s Mr. Juat said the company is also looking to establish another commercial E-beam irradiation facility in Toril, Davao City.
“The budget for the Toril facility is expected to be around the same budget as the Tanay facility,” Mr. Juat said.
According to its website, A Brown is involved in real estate, power generation, public utilities, and agribusiness. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave